Six Quick Fixes to Improve your Proposals

All of us are looking for ways to improve our proposals.  Some remedies can be implemented quickly while others may require long-term solutions.

Bob Lohfeld, the founder and president of Lohfeld Consulting Group, Inc., suggests six quick fixes that can improve a company’s proposal win rate.  They are based on two surveys Lohfeld Consulting conducted in 2012 with corporate proposal professionals.

1.  Capture and Proposal Training 

Only 52 percent of the companies surveyed provided professional training to proposal professionals.  To perform well, proposal personnel must have opportunities to study and learn about their profession.

2.  Business Acquisition Process

Only 46 percent of the companies surveyed have documented their business acquisition processes.  This includes proposal development.  To perform well, companies must document their proposal development processes so they can be used effectively and improved over time.

3.  Capture Management

Only 33 percent of companies surveyed review their capture management processes they use to pursue contract opportunities.  Companies need to be constantly reviewing the pursuit of new business to ascertain whether or not they should develop proposals in response to potential bids.

4.  Gate Reviews

Only 45 percent of companies surveyed use gate reviews to determine whether or not to pursue new business opportunities.  Companies need to use gate reviews to make timely decisions about bids that may lead to proposal development.

5.  Annotated Outlines

Amazingly, only 30 percent of companies have their proposal teams outline and annotate their assigned sections before writing.  This leads to poor writing, wasted time, excessive costs, and poor proposals.

6.  Proposal Errors

Among companies surveyed, 37 percent stated that their proposals have errors that may cause them to lose contracts.  Companies need to create proposal development processes that lead to complete, compliant, and persuasive proposals that are substantially free of errors.

These survey results are sobering.  If your company has one or more of these problems, start fixing them and your proposals will become more competitive.

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